Gather a 100 sales professional in a room (obviously a fairly large room) and ask them this question: "What is the most important thing that you must do in sales in order to be successful long-term?" You will probably hear many different answers.
None of these answers are wrong but none of them describe the most important thing that a sales professional must do every day.
"You need to prospect every day or you'll run out of prospects."
"Every sales person must keep their skills sharp and attend as much training as possible."
"Sales professionals have to always be building their network. The bigger the network, the better!"
"A sales professional needs to pack in as much business-related activity into each day as possible."
Take Care of Your CustomersThe only sales person to whom this "Golden Rule" does not apply is the sales professional who has no customers. Everyone else needs to make taking care of their customers their most important objective, everyday.
But what does taking care of our customers mean? Before we address what it does mean, let's clear up what it doesn't mean.
You are Not a Door MatSome sales professionals take the expression, "the customer is always right" a bit too far. The truth is that customers are NOT always right. Sometimes they are flat out wrong. And when customers are wrong, taking care of them is not pandering to them and agreeing with everything they are saying.
Taking care of your customers should never mean allowing them to take advantage of you or your company. It does not mean that you need to sacrifice your integrity to comply with a customer's demands. Nor does it mean that you should not stand up for yourself and tell your customer that you disagree with their position.
What Taking Care of Your Customers MeansIf you began each work day by thinking of ways that you can help your customers move closer to their goals, you are serving them well. If you make sure that any products or services that you propose to them are truly in their best interest, you are taking care of your customer. If you keep an eye and an ear out for news that your customer would like to know and you share that news as soon as you can, you are acting more like a partner to your customer than like a vendor.
Taking care of your customers means that you are focused on advancing your interests and theirs whenever possible. You cannot be good for your customers if you lose your position because you "didn't have time" to advance your business. The best way to take care of your customers is by being the best sales professional in your industry as possible.